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CNN Live Event/Special

Now, Michael Cohen Testifies in Trump Trial; Now, Michael Cohen Testifies About Planned Reimbursement for Stormy Daniels Payment. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired May 14, 2024 - 10:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: But also we should note, the March check from the revocable trust was signed by Donald Trump Jr. and Allen Weisselberg, Cohen says. Was this, in fact, a retainer for that month, Hoffinger asks, that's the prosecuting attorney. No, ma'am, says Cohen. Was the description in the check stub a false statement, she asks. Cohen confirms it was. Jurors earlier saw these records during testimony from Jeff McConney, a Trump Organization employee, Deborah Tarasoff.

Let me ask a question here and this is a truly an innocent question. Weisselberg, Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., they are signing these checks. Is that criminal, what they were doing?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, if they know, yes. I mean, I think based on the D.A.'s theory, if they know that what we're doing here is we're actually repaying Michael Cohen for his prior payment to Stormy Daniels and we're falsely calling these legal retainer fees to hide that fact, then the answer is yes, technically.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: An important distinction to make here is that what we're seeing here is evidence of a misdemeanor of falsifying business records. There's the additional campaign question, which is the one that, you know, we've been talking about for two weeks now. That's what bumps it up to the felony. Right now, the misdemeanor is abundantly clear right now, based on the evidence.

TAPPER: So, McConney, who worked for the Trump Organization, earlier testified that he would forward the invoices, these fake invoices, according to Michael Cohen, $35,000 retainer every month, which is not real, it's not really for services rendered, it is actually just a repayment, according to Michael Cohen, he would forward these fake invoices to Tarasoff, an employee of the Trump organization, who handles accounts payable for the checks to be cut to Cohen.

Lanny Davis, as far as you understood it, did Allen Weisselberg, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump know what was going on here, because obviously they are not on trial?

LANNY DAVIS, MICHAEL COHEN'S FORMER ATTORNEY: Yes. Weisselberg's document, I think the jurors are going to look at the document. The way I first looked at it, it has a numbers game divided by 12. No reference to legal services. It's a bonus doubled. It's paying for fake people to show up when he came down the escalator doubled. It's his out of pocket plus the money paid, $130,000, doubled, adding to 430,000 divided by 12. The document speaks for itself. There's no reference to legal fees. For me, that was the end of the case.

TAPPER: So, jurors have heard previous testimony that the payments changed in April from the revocable trust to Trump's personal account. Again, Hoffinger just asked Cohen, were any of those checks, in fact, for work during the months described in those check stubs? And Cohen says, no, ma'am. The Trump Organization changed the way that Trump's personal expenses were being handled. That's the only significance there.

DAVIS: And I'm sorry to repeat myself, my friend. The document by Weisselberg is going to be the document the jurors look at in his handwriting. And they're going to say these are numbers doubled, divided by 12, they're not about legal fees, the president of the United States signed a check in the Oval Office from his personal checking account. It's a fake number because it was $120,000 divided by 12, $35,000 a month.

TAPPER: Right. Can I ask a question? So, RedFinch -- I thought RedFinch, which was the 50 of the 180. I know this is really annoying. I'm so sorry. 420 is 180 times 2 plus 150. The 150 is Christmas bonus that Michael Cohen felt screwed out of. The 180 is twice what Michael Cohen felt he paid so that he wouldn't have to do -- here's the Weisselberg document that we're talking about, $180,000 so that he wouldn't have to pay taxes on it.

DAVIS: Yes, expand easily.

TAPPER: But the other thing is, of the $180,000, to divide that, it's $130,000 to Stormy Daniels 50 to RedFinch. What is RedFinch?

DAVIS: RedFinch was -- everybody is numb to Donald Trump, right? So, we say this just as we say that he wrote checks as president and that he said 150 cash in the tape and we're all numb to that, really? He said 150 cash in the tape. Everybody takes for granted. Donald Trump flies.

This is an example. He paid for people to show up as real people when he came down the escalator.

TAPPER: That's what -- that's a RedFinch?

DAVIS: That's a RedFinch.

TAPPER: I thought it was a paying for people fake --

DAVIS: RedFinch paid two things. It faked a poll on Forbes. Are we shocked?

TAPPER: It sounds like a great organization.

DAVIS: Are we shocked about Donald Trump faking? And that was the 50,000 double to 100,000. So, if you take each item in double, you get to 430,000 divided by 12, 000. And that's the checks that Donald Trump has --

WILLIAMS: And Donald Trump was stiffing RedFinch, right?

TAPPER: He was stiffing, and so Cohen had to pay them.

KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: So, just like forgive me for like playing the layman and like the person at home here for a second, because as I'm trying to wrap my head around this. I'm flashing back, you guys remember the movie, The American President with Michael Douglas? Do you remember how he tries to buy flowers for his girlfriend and they like won't let him out of the White House. He doesn't have a wallet. He doesn't have a way to like pay for something super, super normal. I just think it like really contrasts with exactly what you're describing.

DAVIS: But we're numb to it.


HUNT: No, but I'm arguing that we shouldn't be because this is a president of the United States who's signing checks himself. I mean, this is not normal.

DAVIS: Just to let you know, we're back behind the curtains moment. I said to Michael the night before the testimony, when we put these checks, which was sent to me on my telephone from Mrs. Cohen, because I said, where are those checks? I said, when we put these checks signed by a president as repayment to you on national television, this hearing is going to be halted as the press goes running to file their stories.

There was a big yawn when we learned that the president of the United States sitting in the Oval Office was writing these checks from his personal bank account. So, we are numb to this Donald Trump pattern of lying, and we say, oh, so what? We shouldn't say so.

TAPPER: So, just Hoffinger right now, just inside the courtroom, Attorney Susan Hoffinger with the prosecution, is having Michael Cohen go through the July invoice. He has -- Michael Cohen has the glasses on the edge of his nose as he's reading the invoice aloud.

Trump is in the courtroom, leaning over and whispering to Todd Blanche, his attorney, as Cohen is walking through the paperwork. just to bring you inside the courtroom, the defense table is kind of -- well, I'll do it this way, the defense table is kind of over here. And I'm getting all confused because of this. The defense table is on the left side of the room. The witness stand is on the right side of the room. So, Donald Trump and Michael Cohen do not necessarily make eye contact if they don't want to.


CHALIAN: Please, of course.

GANGEL: Reimbursements are not taxable. And I'm sure the prosecutors will make this point. And I think it goes to intent, motivation by Trump. What do we know about Trump? He is cheap. He stiffs people. And then if he has to, he pays. He paid more to Michael Cohen to make him whole on taxes. It's a very direct piece of evidence that these were not reimbursements.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Because they wanted to look like (INAUDIBLE). The reason they're going month by month, by the way, is because each month's invoice check and pay stub is charged as a separate crime.

TAPPER: Right. And each one is a different crime because each one is a falsified record, allegedly. And Michael Cohen, Laura Coates is talking about how every invoices was fake. for not for services rendered, he was not on retainer, this is all being repaid for the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels, as well as the money to RedFinch, this organization that did bogus crowds and bogus poll, people being polled on the internet, plus some other money for the Christmas bonus he felt he got stiffed out of. Laura?

LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: It is so important to go through all this information, and, of course, getting to the real core of the issue here, ladies. I'm here with Kristen and also Paula.

We can't keep talking about these issues in a vacuum, right, or just in isolation. It's time to start with the top with the compartmentalizing. They have got to present a fulsome case. Michael Cohen's whole job on the witness stand is to be that narrator. We've already heard little like almost every witness up to him has been a trailer, a preview. Now, he is the full movie in many respects. And they're going to go through methodically the August invoices.

Because, right Paula, there are 34 different counts here about actual business records, not just checks, but invoices too.

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. That's why as the prosecutor goes through each check that Michael Cohen receives, she's also acknowledging the false, she describes it, a false invoice that he submitted, right? So, she's going document through document, and Cohen is confirming each time that, yes, this falsely states the payment was for services rendered during that month.

Remember, Cohen was part of this conspiracy. He was submitting false invoices that then arrive on the desks of these accountants at the Trump Organization, Deb Tarasoff and Jeff McConney, who both testified a couple days ago and explained, yes, I got the invoice, I put it in the system, I clicked the tab, and then the check went out for someone to sign.

So, this is an important piece of the case going through this. I would argue that, you know, this is pretty easy, right? Here's the check. Did you get it? Here's a false invoice. Did you submit it? I think what's going to be a little bit harder for Cohen is after we get past this, the alleged conspiracy, getting into what happens once he breaks from Trump. I think that is where the jury may start to see him as an unreliable narrator. COATES: It's important to think about that because there's the moments in time we're talking about. Of course, the fact that he is now presumed to be biased against Trump, I mean, in presumption, I mean, he has gone all out to talk about his views on him in recent times.

The prosecutors want to have a frozen in time moment, like a mosquito in amber, right? They want to say, this is the time you were at this particular point in time. They're talking about the prosecutor confirming with Cohen each time that it comes through. And, again, who signed the checks? Donald J. Trump. This is important to think about the then and now.

Paint the picture for us though, Kristen. All these 34 documents, this wasn't while he was not the president.


These were all post-inauguration. And if you go back in time to witness testimony earlier, they were talking about a very different place of the Trump Organization with Donald Trump at the head and with his sons.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, when we talk about Trump Org at this time, this is kind of what we heard from McConney as well as just various witnesses who were there. This was a chaotic time at the Trump Organization, but this was also a chaotic time at the White House. Donald Trump did not think that he was going to be president and was completely unprepared to be president.

Just remember what we're talking about now as he runs for president in 2024. Donald Trump has an entire organization in place, essentially the wheels behind the motion to put together a transition for a White House, stuff that he never had then, because they didn't expect him to actually win.

So, there was chaos there, there was also chaos at the Trump Organization. As we know, they were trying to put up this wall between Donald Trump, the man, Donald Trump Organization, and the fact that he was now, as you said the leader of the free world.

So, as they're painting this, you know, this is a chaotic time, but I do want to note one thing you said about the Michael Cohen frozen in time and where we are now.

CAOTES: I said, as a mosquito in amber.

HOLMES: Mosquito in amber, because that was very poetic.


HOLMES: But the defense is going to take that right out. Because what they want to do is show who he has become. Because part of this is that the entire case hinges on Michael Cohen. They're going to want to paint him as somebody who has an axe to grind, who has built an entire, real, I don't want to say empire, but brand, on being anti- Donald Trump. And that's what you're going to see from them. And that's likely what you're going to start to see from the prosecution as they lay this out, because they know what's coming.

COATES: Oh, the prosecution will be doing a disservice to their case unless they tried to front all these issues around his convictions, about the perceived bias. All of those things are important.

The irony, of course, Paula, is they're going to try to rehabilitate somebody for their lack of truthfulness while the entire case is about falsified record. So who is going to be the key witness for somebody who would be the most reliable narrator about a document involving false documents, somebody who actually contribute to having me false?

REID: Perhaps the jury will see it that way. I think what's extraordinary about him is not just the criminal record, right, lying to the IRS, lying to Congress, right, lying to banks in, addition to election crimes related to this scheme and the Karen McDougal payment, that you can work around. As you know, people have to take the stand with criminal records all the time.

The bigger issue for prosecutors and for Mr. Cohen is the fact that, for years, his entire identity has been relentlessly attacking the defendant on every medium known to man, books, podcasts, television, social media.

COATES: Not just identity but financial gain.

REID: Exactly. He profited off of this. The same argument they made about Stormy Daniels, much, I think, easier to make about Michael Cohen. This is what could potentially sow seeds of doubt, reasonable doubt, in the minds of the jury. It's really an extraordinary challenge for prosecutors, one I've never really seen before.

COATES: Well, you know, they're also right now discussing the November records and now the December payment. Again, we're talking about 34 accounts. And this might be the point people think, well, this seems a little bit mundane. No, this is the details. This is the actual case. It's not about whether there was an actual sexual encounter. It's not about whether there's actually truthfulness behind an affair. It's about whether there were false or bad records.

And an important part here, Kristen, the idea that his name, Donald J. Trump, is on the bottom of these checks. The jurors well remember, and they have notes to confirm it, that this has been a painted picture of Trump who is meticulous. He is a micromanager. He's cashing 50 cent checks. He is talking about in his books before he came on the stand about how you got to be in control. He's firing a former employee in a tongue in cheek way. Mr. McConney saying, you got to check these invoices. His name on the bottom line is very telling.

HOLMES: It is. I mean, we know that Donald Trump is a micromanager. He still is to this day. I mean, campaign statements don't go out without him looking over it first. He is constantly hiring his own people. He watches them on television, decides he likes them, brings them into the fold, much to the chagrin of many other people on his campaign or in his orbit who are kind of skeptical as to why this person is now joining their team.

COATES: And now we've got the last one. He says, they go through all the different 34 accounts and they ask why this is the last. And he says, because I had been reimbursed $420,000. Remember, of course, it went from $130,000, then you multiply that by plus 50,000 for that RedFinch, then multiply by two to have the tax benefit as well, and then for that, as an hour bonus. Go ahead.

HOLMES: And that's one thing also. I mean, that's an interesting part of all of us, too, is Michael Cohen. I think that's probably the prosecution trying to play into this kind of money situation with Michael Cohen because the defense is going to bring that up to how he felt like he was stiffed. He was constantly talking about how he was mad at Donald Trump because he wasn't part of the administration, that he hadn't even been considered, the fact that he felt like he was getting gypped on his bonus.


I mean, all these things are going to play into what the defense says as well. So, that's going to be part of this.

COATES: Talk about loyalty, guys, because this is really, you know, kind of a different witness in all of this. We're witnessing that what happens when there is perceived loyalty or not. I'm talking about Allen Weisselberg in particular because there is a real split screen happening between not only the presence of Michael Cohen but the absence of Allen Weisselberg.

We were just seeing on the screen handwritten notes that detailed the way this would be structured from Allen Weisselberg. He has been mentioned a lot from prior witnesses. He is presently in Rikers. He is not going to be making an appearance. He likely would not be cooperating. There it is right now, just the idea of how this is all to break down to repay him.

You know, I do wonder the fact that Allen Weisselberg is not here, Paula.

REID: Yes.

COATES: That might actually inure to the benefit of Donald Trump.

REID: Oh, yes, absolutely. It's something that I can report that the defense intends to seize on the fact that he hasn't been on the government's witness list. He will not be called. And prosecutors, you know, could have potentially tried to call him. It's unclear if he would be cooperative, likely he just would have pleaded the Fifth, but they didn't even try, which is something --

COATES: You can't call them if they're just going to plead the Fifth.

REID: Exactly. So, I think the judge alluded to this, I believe it was yesterday, saying, no, we're not even going to let you bring in his severance agreement to try to establish why he may not be here, because that really -- I'm not going to allow you to do that, because it doesn't prove why he's not here.

So, it's an issue that's hanging out there. It's not clear how the prosecutors are going to button this up for the jury, but they have to address it, because the three people were allegedly involved in a conspiracy. One is the defendant, one is Michael Cohen, and one you haven't heard from, that is going to be something that is hanging out there for jurors.

So, that is a big thing I'm watching for. How do both sides handle the Allen Weisselberg of it all? It's also a reminder that what pure loyalty to Donald Trump gets you is somehow you're going to be involved in the criminal justice system. You're either going to be subpoenaed, you're going to be on the witness stand, or, like Allen Weisselberg, you wind up in Rikers. Of course, Michael Cohen has also served time in prison. A part of that was related to his own business dealings,

COATES: But also you coming out and support politically. I mean, there's two jurors here, right? There's the court of public opinion that I think Trump is also playing to every single time he leaves the courthouse and instead is talking to the cameras. You have politicians who were coming. The veep stakes is in full swing right now. You can report there are some members of Congress who already have been there, another person, Vivek Ramaswamy, who intends to be there. And there's going to be a press conference where it's outside to do some political bidding for Trump today.

KRISTEN: Well, Laura, you said this yesterday, and I can't stop thinking about it. I thought it was the perfect way to describe it. The new loyalty test is showing up at court for Donald Trump. And that really is what we're seeing. Half the people that we're seeing are people who are vying to be at the top of the ticket, yesterday, Ohio Senator J.D. Vance, today, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. These are people who are in contention, who Donald Trump has mentioned to be vice president.

Then you have Speaker Mike Johnson. Well, why is that important? Mike Johnson is somebody who needs Donald Trump. He right now is still holding on to his speakership and he needs the support of the former president. And he has enjoyed the support of the former president.

You mentioned Vivek Ramaswamy. Essentially, this is coming, becoming a who's who of a potential Trump administration, people who might be in the cabinet, who might be at the top of the ticket, just people showing their loyalty. And we are told that some of these people are actually volunteering to come there, reaching out to Trump himself or to the campaign and saying they want to show their support because, remember, he is still the Republican nominee, and there is a thought that he could be president again, and they're going to want to show up for him.

COATES: Also, we're seeing something that Cohen said he reviewed something from Madame Tussauds Museum about Melania. He was also not paid for the work for Melania Trump, a theme that we're hearing more and more about. It's interesting because they did not show up when you had Stormy on the stand. They're showing up now when you've got Michael Cohen on the stand. Clearly, they are aware of the optics as well.

I want to bring in former U. S. District Judge from Pennsylvania John E. Jones III. You have been closely following this case, Your Honor, as well. And you and I had a conversation yesterday about the potential for the defense before Michael Cohen took the stand, to essentially say, Your Honor, there's not even enough to go to a jury with this. They have not connected the dots.

We're in Day 2 of a direct examination. They're now making the documents the star witness, in addition to testimony by Michael Cohen. How do you see the role of these documents playing, really, for a jury who is accustomed to hearing from people?

JOHN E. JONES III, FORMER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE, PENNSYLVANIA: Well, I think apropos of our conversation yesterday, Laura, that the acquittal, the motion for an acquittal or a directed verdict, that ship obviously is sailed. The judge isn't going to throw this out at the end of the prosecution's case. And, you know, sometimes, as you know, as a litigator, trials can be kind of stultifying and dull, but there's a purpose to going document by document. And it does make an impression on a jury if it's properly presented.


COATES: You know, we're going through and seeing that he is confirming now emails with Trump Org General Counsel Alan Garten. You can imagine the jurors who have notes in front of them. They've got probably a list of who's who. There's a lot of names that have been raised through the course of this entire trial, not the least of which has been Allen Weisselberg. His handwritten notes are a part of this. People have mentioned him. They've had his subordinates testify. But you haven't heard from Allen Weisselberg.

How has that traditionally played in your experience when there is a third person as a part of this, you know, three-legged stool, one is the defendant, one is the witness, and one is nowhere to be found because he's in Rikers?

JONES: You know, here's what I'm going to say about that. In the voir dire, in the selection of the jury, you know, you can only ask so many questions. I can't believe that there aren't several people on this jury who haven't been watching the news and who aren't aware of the fact that Allen Weisselberg is in Rikers at this point. I mean, we're assuming that nobody in the jury knows that. I'll bet they do and I'll bet that comes out.

Will that be something talked about publicly? No, because, as you know, juries deliberate in secret. But I'm not sure it's as big a problem as some are anticipating.

COATES: We're also learning as well that Michael Cohen has confirmed that the $420,000 he was reimbursed, he says, was not for legal work that was done. He's also saying that to the jury that when Stormy Daniels went public with her story back in 2018, Trump wanted to take legal action against her for breaching the NDA. Now, we've heard part of this before, Your Honor, about the idea of Trump being agitated and annoyed. He said that he was contacted, by the way, by Eric Trump, as well as Mr. Trump, regarding how to go forward with the arbitration proceeding. This is all coming in front of this jury.

But, again, revisiting this issue of the absence of Allen Weisselberg, the documents themselves, how do you anticipate or what kind of moments you think might come up in the cross examination of Michael Cohen? Do you see the jury having to get a instruction of some kind after when they talk about his convictions?

JONES: I'm not sure that there's going to have to be a conviction. But I'll tell you what. You know, Michael Cohen is going to be pretty much disemboweled on cross-examination. It's a question of, you know, how much of his end trails are pulled out by Todd Blanche. This is going to be quite a show. This will be Todd Blanche's cross- examination moment in his life.

And he's got to discredit this witness because that's the only way you win this case, in my view. You know, he's got to create reasonable doubt or appeal to that one or two jurors who he hopes will hang him up you know, even if the other jurors want to convict. But it's going to be spirited.

And I think, you know, based on my prior position, I think about Justice Merchan. Imagine, you know, he's going to have to referee this, this fight between Todd Blanche and Michael Cohen. And he's got all kinds of interesting characters sitting, staring at him, including governors, senators, unsuccessful presidential candidates.

And he's also got a defendant who's doing something that most defendants never have the ability to do, which is getting out in public at the end of the trial day and shrieking about how corrupt he is and how conflicted he is. You know, if ever there was a time when a judge had to tune out the outside noise, here's one of them because, you know, we're all too human. It's incredible to me you know what he's having to endure to sit and preside in this case.

COATES: And, Judge, you make a great point about Judge Merchan. Remember, there is this active gag order to which Trump's team initially, about a week-and-a-half ago, wanted to have removed with respect to Michael Cohen, as one person they felt did not need the protection, felt that he was no shrinking violet, could go toe-to-toe and had been on the attacking side of everything. But you make the point. There have been members of Congress. There have been other mouthpieces and spokespersons who have been talking about the people that Trump cannot go after.

If you're the judge in this matter, and you hear, you know, members of Congress or other people trying to do that, which Trump cannot, does it -- how do you show that you are going to remain unbiased and unbothered to preserve your reputation before maybe even an appellate court?

JONES: Well, you keep your head down and do your job, Laura. That's all you can do at this point. I mean, don't think that Judge Merchan is unaware of what's going on around him.


You know, judges know that. They can see that with their own eyes. They read the news. They consume the news, just like everybody else does. and you just have to power through what they're seeing.

But this is really unprecedented. You know, we're seeing a criminal trial where people who are auditioning to become the vice president of the United States are attending. And, you know, despite the sort of sordid material in the trial, they're sitting there, you know, giving the death stare to the judge. I don't think in the annals of American jurisprudence we've ever seen anything like this.

COATES: It is a striking time and a moment. I wonder what will happen today when the cross and whether the composure of Michael Cohen will continue.

Judge, thank you so much for joining us today and getting your insight.

I want to go back to Washington, D.C. Jake, you know, thinking about this moment, it is extraordinary for a number of reasons, but, Jake, also the fact that we know if we can recall what type of cross Stormy Daniels received, if they were trying to keep their powder dry, figuratively speaking, for Michael Cohen, then we are ahead for a lot of fireworks.

TAPPER: Indeed, a lot of fireworks, because the case, in many ways, hinges on the credibility of Michael Cohen, although there is plenty of documentary evidence that supports the claims he has made.

Let me just go through what has been going on in the trial. Right now, Cohen's attorney was being paid by the Trump Organization. Asked if that was important to him at the time, Cohen says, very much so.

And this is about other monies and other duties that Michael Cohen did for Donald Trump. He said that the last filing he did, the last invoice he did that was bogus, was December 1st, 2017. Why was it the last one? He said, because I've been reimbursed the $420,000. He said he did minimal work for the Trumps in 2017 and he wasn't paid for it.

There was something involving Madame Tussauds and Melania Trump when the museum wanted to create a model of her. He did it, he didn't expect to be paid for it, he didn't fill out an invoice for her.

There was something where Michael Cohen said he was working with Attorney Marc Kasowitz on the Summer Zervos matter, and delivered documents to Trump on the Oval Office regarding that. Elie Honig, what is the Summer Zervos matter?

HONIG: So, remember the moment of testimony when Michael Cohen said that Donald Trump told him when he announced for president, a lot of women are going to be coming forward? This is another one. We've heard less about her than Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels. Summer Zervos was a contestant on the T.V. show The Apprentice back in 2006. Years later, when Trump enters the political scene, she makes allegations that Donald Trump touched her inappropriately, sexually, unwanted kissing, unwanted touching, that kind of thing.

Trump, as he is won't to do, then publicly calls her a liar and says it's all fake. She then sues him for defamation. Again, this probably, I mean, similar to E. Jean Carroll in these respects. This lawsuit, however, ends up going nowhere. It ends up getting settled, and I would put that in scare quotes, in 2021 for $0, for non-monetary exchange of something or other. So, eventually, it goes away, but she was one of many people who was coming forward with allegations.

And we should note, where Michael Cohen is testifying now is really important. He's getting into his false statements to Congress.

TAPPER: Yes, let's talk about that.


TAPPER: So, in addition to the other work he did for the Trumps, he basically said that he continued to lie for Trump. He made a lot of money. This is Michael Cohen in court. You can believe it or not. He said he made approximately $4 million in 2017 and '18 from consulting work he did for other clients.

So, he also acknowledged that the one of the reasons he was able to attract other clients is because he was known as Donald Trump's lawyer. So, other people came to him. And so the arrangement, it sounds like, is Michael Cohen basically didn't bill Donald Trump, still called himself Trump's attorney and was able to gin up all sorts of clients on that way, by being known as Trump's lawyer. He said he continued to lie for Trump because of that.

He had an agreement with Squire Patton Boggs, had two offices in New York and Washington. He held the title of Trump's personal attorney for approximately 15 months. Why did he continue to lie? Cohen said, out of loyalty and in order to protect him. Then this is where everything starts to fall apart. In 2017, Cohen was subpoenaed to testify to the House and Senate Intelligence Committee's Russia investigations in 2017.

Now, this was behind closed doors, this testimony. Cohen said he felt a tremendous amount of pressure. It's the first time he'd ever been subpoenaed by Congress to come in and testify. Cohen's attorney, this is what I mentioned before, was being paid by the Trump Organization. Asked if that was important to him at the time, he said, very much so. And then Cohen is acknowledging he made false statements to Congress. Cohen said he felt he needed Trump's legal support at the time.


He felt he needed, it was extremely important to me.